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NCHN eNews
January 31, 2012 FacebookTwitter LinkedIn
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

Welcome to the January 2012 issue of the e-News. This week, we welcome two new Associate Members: Mary Kay Chess, Ph.D., and Esther Hammerschlag. Neither are new to NCHN; both are dedicated, active participants in NCHN activities and we are excited that they are both official NCHN Associate Members. As a membership organization, NCHN is only as strong as its members, and Mary Kay and Esther strengthen it through their involvement and commitment to NCHN’s mission.

In national news, Secretary Sebelius discussed rural healthcare at the NRHA Policy Institute on Monday and RAC has released an online HIT toolkit.

Let us know what's going on with your network
If you have information you would like to share, or have any feedback, please email us.







NCHN Welcomes 2 Associate Members

Please join the NCHN Board in welcoming two "new" Associate Members to NCHN.

Mary Kay Chess, Ph.D.

Many of you are familiar with Mary Kay through NCHN calls and meetings. Dr. Chess is a former NCHN Director and was serving as Vice President when she left Health Future, LLC to pursue teaching. She facilitates the monthly Coffee and Tea chats for NCHN Members and is the leader of NCHN's Transformer Leadership Learning Community. If you have never had the chance to attend a Coffee/Tea Chat, check the NCHN calendar for one that works for your schedule. Topics are participant driven and so vary according to your interests. We are thrilled to officially welcome Mary Kay as an Associate Member.

Ph: (541) 690-4178

Esther Hammerschlag

Most NCHN members know Esther in her role as Network Director of Prince of Wales Health Network in Alaska. Esther has been an active member of NCHN, serving as a Director and most recently as Secretary, along with dedicating her time to numerous NCHN Committees and presenting at NCHN Conferences. Esther has departed her job at POW Network, but will continue her involvement in NCHN as an Associate Member. We are delighted that she remains a member of NCHN.

Ph: (907) 401-1690


Featured Partner
Healthcare Management
Healthcare Management is a Member Partner

Silly Health Facts from

• By weight, Bone is five times stronger than steel.

• Fidgeting can burn about 350 calories a day.

• A human being loses an average of 40 to 100 strands of hair a day.


Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

2012 Conference Planning Committee Call
Monday, February 6 @ 2:00 PM ET
Monday, February 20 @ 2:00 PM ET

Coffee Chat with Dr. Mary Kay Chess
Wednesday, February 15 @ 11:00 AM ET

Program Development Committee Call
Tuesday, February 21 @ 1:00 PM ET

Executive Committee Call
Monday, February 27 @ 2:00 PM ET

NCHN Transformer Leadership Learning Community Session
Friday, March 16 @ 11:00 AM ET




Healthcare ManagementHealthcare Management

Healthcare Management, LLC is pleased to bring NCHN members programs designed to create network sustainability. Healthcare Management is a hospital revenue cycle company featuring bad-debt collection and self-pay billing services. HCM is owned and operated by hospital members of Western Healthcare Alliance, a rural healthcare network in Colorado.

Why consider partnering with Healthcare Management?
Every healthcare provider in your network is already utilizing a third-party vendor for revenue recovery. By partnering with Healthcare Management, we can work with you to provide solutions which are tailored to the needs of your members and affiliated organizations. These programs are simple for you to implement and we will provide full technical assistance. Not sure if your members have needs in this area? We are happy to conduct a needs assessment for you.

NCHN members receive a revenue share-back quarterly, competitive rates and a patient-friendly program for members. Work collaboratively with your members to create a win-win program with real gains potential.

Programs include:

  • Self-pay Account Billing
  • Payment Plan Management
  • Medical Financing for Large Account Balances
  • Bad-debt recovery collection agency
  • Coding Education
  • Accounts Receivable Auditing

Jessica Taylor, Vice President of Marketing
715 Horizon Drive, Suite 401
Grand Junction, CO 81506
Phone: 970-986-3651



Links to Member News

Network Director opening at Prince of Wales Health Network

Location: Craig, AK

Description: The Prince of Wales Health Network is seeking a full-time Network Director to oversee the operation of a four member community based vertical health network.

Responsibilities include:

  • Coordination with all Network members to ensure individual member needs are recognized and addressed
  • Facilitation of the Governing Body process
  • Facilitation of committee processes
    Development and execution of strategic goals and objectives in accordance with Governing Body discussions
  • Establishment and monitoring of subcontracts with all partners
  • Development and maintenance of relationships with local, regional, and State agencies and key stakeholders
  • Development and coordination of funding and grant requests
  • Completion of all required grant reports and evaluations.
  • Development and management of Network budgets and fiscal reports
  • Implementation of evaluation system to monitor Network progress and achievement of goals and objectives
  • Coordination with fiscal support staff, funders and granting agencies
  • Supervision of Network Program Assistant





ACO Webinar
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Chicago Regional Office

When: January 31, 2012
Time: 6-7pm CST

You are invited to participate in a webinar hosted by the CMS-Chicago Regional Office about the Medicare Shared Savings ACO Program.

Presenter: Dr. Derek Robinson, Chief Medical Officer


NRHA Rural Health Policy Institute

January 30 - February 1, 2012
Washington, D.C.

Join NRHA for the largest rural advocacy event in the country. Learn firsthand about the development and implementation of health care policy at the federal level and meet with your members.


Wipfli Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conference

January 31 - February 2, 2012
Bloomington, MN

The 12th Annual Rural Health Clinic Forum and Critical Access Hospital Conference are again being held together, giving you the chance to attend one or both! This event is designed to help organizations like yours succeed through quality education and the opportunity to communicate directly with regulators and existing RHCs and CAHs.


Rural Health Clinics Technical Assistance Call

Office of Rural Health Policy Webinar: February 2, 2012
2:00 - 3:00 PM EST

Toll Free Call-in #:866.564.7431
Pass Code: 168265

» For more information, contact

2012 Monthly Rural Health Care Conference Call

Conference Call: February 9, 2012 @ 2:00 PM ET

Dial-in: 1 (800) 240-9939
Passcode: 6772 932#

Program applicants and service providers can raise issues of concern or seek clarification on program rules during monthly outreach conference calls. The discussion of agenda items is followed by a general question and answer period.


HRSA Health IT & Quality Webinar

Tips for Preventing Scope Creep and Cost Over Runs When Implementing a Health IT System

Friday, February 17 @ 2:00 PM ET


National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services; Notice of Meeting

February 15 - 17, 2012
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Fairfax at Embassy Row
Washington, DC

Purpose: The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services provides counsel and recommendations to the Secretary with respect to the delivery, research, development, and administration of health and human services in rural areas.Show citation box

Agenda: Wednesday afternoon, February 15, at 2 p.m., the meeting will be called to order by the Chairperson of the Committee: The Honorable Ronnie Musgrove. This will be followed by presentations on provisions from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Committee will be examining potential long-term impacts on the rural health care infrastructure. The day will conclude with a period of public comment at approximately 4:30 p.m.Show citation box

Thursday morning, February 16, at 9 a.m., the Committee will continue to hear panel presentations on ACA-related provisions and will then break into subcommittees on each of those topics for further discussion. The day will conclude with a period of public comment at approximately 4:30 p.m.Show citation box

Friday morning, February 17, at 9 a.m., the Committee will summarize key findings from the meeting and develop a work plan for the next quarter and the June meeting.




RAC Launches New Online Health Information Technology Toolkit
New Health Information Technology Resource Targets Rural Health Providers

January 26, 2012 ( - A new online toolkit will serve as a pilot program for providing health information technology (HIT) resources to rural health care providers. The toolkit, developed by the Rural Assistance Center (RAC) and the National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center) is designed to help rural providers find resources for HIT, electronic health records (EHR), meaningful use and related topics. Funding for the toolkit, available at, is provided by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP).

“HIT is critically important for rural communities and this toolkit is one way to help rural health care providers get projects up and running,” explains Kristine Sande, RAC program director. “While rural communities have seen many advances and innovation in using EHRs and HIT networks, they still face a number of challenges.”


Sebelius says there’s light at the end of the tunnel for rural Americans
by Lindsey Corey

January 30, 2012 (Rural Health Voices) - Geography shouldn’t be a determinant of health care quality, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said as she kicked off the National Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Policy Institute this morning.

She told a record crowd of rural health professionals from all 50 states that there’s hope in rural health.

“When you’ve worked on rural health as long as all of us have, sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Sebelius said. “Today I can tell you there’s a light shining brightly. We have the power and momentum to bring fairness and equality to rural America.”


Adoption of Health Information Technology in Rural Health Clinics
National Rural Health Resource Center

January 27, 2012 ( - As the nation, including rural areas, moves swiftly toward the adoption of health information technology (HIT), the progress by the Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in adopting and implementing HIT remains unknown. There are approximately 3,800 RHCs located throughout the United States, yet an aggregate catalogue and contact list for all currently operating RHCs does not exist. To address these issues, the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC), a program of the National Rural Health Resource Center, and the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) at the University of Southern Maine are developing a database of RHCs and will be utilizing this information to conduct a national survey focusing on meaningful use of HIT by RHCs.


Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis announces proposed rulemaking to implement statutory amendments to Family and Medical Leave Act
Rule would expand military family leave provisions, incorporate special eligibility provision for airline flight crew employees

January 30, 2012 (US Dept. of Labor News Release) - Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor is issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking to implement new statutory amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act that would expand military family leave provisions and incorporate a special eligibility provision for airline flight crew employees.

The FMLA, enacted in 1993, entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.


Obama On Health Insurance Reform: 'I Won't Go Back' (State Of The Union Excerpts)

January 24, 2012 (Kaiser Health News) - In his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama made just one explicit mention of the 2010 health law. Here is a transcript of the few parts of his speech that mentioned health care issues:

Innovation also demands basic research. Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally-financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched. ...

I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage, or charge women differently than men. ...


Why Men From Rural Communities Avoid Seeking Mental Health Counseling

January 27, 2012 ( - Men, in general, are far less likely than women to seek professional help for mental health problems. But a new study, led by Joseph H. Hammer and David L. Vogel of the Department of Psychology at Iowa State University, suggests that men from rural communities are even more resistant than urban-dwelling men when it comes to getting psychological counseling. The study expands upon previous research by the team and explores the factors that create barriers to treatment. For example, in the study, Hammer and colleagues identified self-stigma as the primary reason that men from rural areas do not reach out for help.


Filling the gap: Rural clinics help provide health care for million
by Tom Smith and Hannah Mask

January 26, 2012 ( - Evelyn Ashton has been going to Phil Campbell Medical Clinic for 20 years.

She's convinced if not for the down home personal care she receives at the clinic, she would not be getting the same kind of health care at another, larger facility.

"It's convenient and that's important. I love that it's just around the corner," said the Phil Campbell resident. "But as important as that is, they treat me like family. I'm not just a patient to them. They care about me."

Ashton is among the approximate 16 percent of the national population living in a rural community. More than 60 percent of rural residents live in counties adjacent to urban areas, according to a report released by United Health Center for Health and Reform Modernization. Lauderdale County, according to the study, is among 12 Alabama counties considered "urban" by the Alabama Department of Public Health, as defined by federal guidelines that include population per square mile, yet it contains areas that qualify as distinctly rural.


Outpatient Move Saves Hospital
by Joe Cantlupe

January 30, 2012 (HealthLeaders Media) - In Aledo, IL, a town of 3,600 tucked in the northwest corner of the state near Iowa, it was a move to outpatient care that saved its 22-licensed-bed critical access Mercer County Hospital, a facility that was nearly shut down because of fiscal and management problems.

The Genesis Health System in Davenport, IA, is in the midst of an agreement with Mercer County, IL, to run the facility. Genesis and Mercer County officials have recommended that it buy the hospital.


Score! for Two Rural Broadband Teams
by Craid Settles

January 26, 2012 (The Daily Yonder) - Can the strategy that raised enough money for a new Packers' stadium finance a rural broadband network? Communities in Vermont and rural Lancashire, England, have kicked off efforts.

In Green Bay, WI, football fans bought shares in the team to build a new stadium. Local ardor and hustle can raise money for a broadband network, too. Though bumped out of Super Bowl contention, the Green Bay Packers leave broadband advocates with a win: a potent strategy for community ownership of this critical asset.


More from The Daily Yonder
Getting Workers to Columbus (January 25, 2012)
Rural Hotline to the White House (January 27, 2012)

Obama Administration officials, health care leaders join together at Innovation Summit
Summit builds on Affordable Care Act, highlights private, public innovations to improve health care quality and lower costs

January 26, 2012 (HHS News Release) - Obama Administration officials and a breadth of representatives from across the health care system will meet in Washington [on Thursday, January 26] for a day-long meeting to explore how they can collaborate and improve the quality of health care while at the same time lowering costs.




Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center Special Projects Grants

Purpose: The NRTRC is an organization that supports growth in telemedicine and telehealth through the sharing of information, leveraging a community of experience and expertise, and collaborative activities that benefit communities served through increased access to healthcare delivered through telehealth. Projects selected will be requested to share tools developed and information and lessons learned with NRTRC membership.

Applications are due by February 3, 2012.


State Implementation Grants for Systems of Services for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN)

Purpose: This grant program improves access to a quality, comprehensive, coordinated community-based systems of services for CYSHCN and their families that is family-centered and culturally competent. This grant program improves access to a quality, comprehensive, coordinated community-based system of services for CYSHCN and their families that is family-centered and culturally competent.

The initiative supports grants to assist State Title V Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) programs, family organizations, providers, and other partners to implement the six core outcomes of a system of services based on evidence based practices for CYSHCN.

Applications are due by March 1, 2012.



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